diabetes, diabetes treatments

Everything you should know about Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.

Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.

Diabetes types

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. Majority having this type are young adults
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood. This is the commonest type of diabetes.
  • Prediabetes is actually not diabetes. It occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. But there is a risk of developing diabetes in near future. So it is a red flag.
  • Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Some hormones in pregnancy cause this thing.

Symptoms of diabetes

Initial symptoms

  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • weight loss

Other general symptoms

  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • sores that don’t heal
  • Mood changes
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Causes of diabetes

Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. For some reason, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Genes may play a role in some people. It’s also possible that a virus sets off the immune system attack.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or obese increases your risk too. Carrying extra weight, especially in your belly, makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on your blood sugar.

This condition runs in families. Family members share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is the result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can cause high blood sugar during pregnancy.

Women who are overweight when they get pregnant or who gain too much weight during their pregnancy are more likely to get gestational diabetes.

Diabetes risk factors

Type 1 diabetes

There are no certain risk factors. But if you have a family member with diabetes, risk is high.

Type 2 diabetes

There are several risk factors

  • overweight
  • age 45 or older
  • have a parent or sibling with the condition
  • physically inactive
  • had gestational diabetes before
  • prediabetes
  • high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides

Gestational diabetes

  • overweight
  • age 25 or older
  • had gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy
  • family history of type 2 diabetes
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Diabetes complications

High blood sugar damages organs and tissues throughout your body.

Complications associated with diabetes include:

  • heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • neuropathy
  • nephropathy – leading to renal failure
  • retinopathy and vision loss
  • hearing loss
  • foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal
  • skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections
  • depression
  • dementia

Gestational diabetes

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to problems that affect both the mother and baby. Complications affecting the baby can include:

  • premature birth
  • higher-than-normal weight at birth
  • increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life
  • low blood sugar
  • jaundice
  • stillbirth

The mother’s risk of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies also increases.

Diabetes diagnosis

There are several tests to diagnose diabetes.

  • The fasting blood glucose test measures your blood sugar after you’ve fasted for 8 to 10 hours.
  • Random blood sugar and post pandial blood sugar are other tests. But they are not much reliable.
  • The A1C test provides a snapshot of your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months.

Gestational diabetes

  • Oral glucose challenge test is the best test to diagnose gestational diabetes.

The earlier you get diagnosed with diabetes, the sooner you can start treatment. Find out whether you should get tested, and get more information on tests your doctor might perform.

Treatment of diabetes

Doctors treat diabetes with a few different medications. Some of these drugs are taken by mouth, while others are available as injections.

Type 1 diabetes

Insulin is the main treatment for type 1 diabetes. It replaces the hormone your body isn’t able to produce.

Type 2 diabetes

Diet and exercise can help some people manage type 2 diabetes. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood sugar, you’ll need to take medication. Metformin, Tolbutamide, Sitagliptin and Empagliflozin are some of available medication.

Diabetes prevention

Many of the diabetes risk factors are controllable. Most diabetes prevention strategies involve making simple adjustments to your diet and fitness routine.

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, here are a few things you can do to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes:

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling.
  • Cut saturated and trans fats, along with refined carbohydrates, out of your diet.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Try to lose your body weight if you’re overweight or obese.

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